Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

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Groundhog
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Groundhog » 24 May 2020, 17:01

Heber13 wrote:
12 May 2020, 15:51
Roy wrote:
21 Apr 2020, 21:19
Groundhog wrote:
21 Apr 2020, 07:51
It's more of what you said when you talked to your counselor, the idea that my gf could be forever bonded to other people in a sacred way when it shouldn't be that way. I just find it disturbing to dwell on that thought, that even in the eternities there would be other people who know my wife intimately.
I know that it is easier said than done but I can't help but think that it doesn't have to be that way. The idea that someone that had an intimate moment with your gf/wife would be forever bonded to her is not doctrinal.
I agree with Roy on this. It does seem from your posts that you are placing a certain meaning on the sacred nature of things, understandably from the teachings we receive in the church and in our families.

But as Roy said...it doesn't mean it has to be that way or that is all that matters.

It is either something from the past you cling to and let it bother you, or it is not and you let it go. There may have been other things that were sacred to you once, but in learning new things, you let it go and it doesn't bother you anymore. We often do that. Especially when they are no big deal to us. This one, however, keeps coming back and is a hard one for you. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with you, simply that this one sticks...it is there to be wrestled with...and it is difficult. We all discard stuff that is no big deal easily...but it is the ones that stick that cause us to struggle and grow by working through them. They are the ones we learn the most from.

Don't look at it as something is wrong with you because it is difficult. Just embrace it as something difficult for you. It just is. Now what will you choose to do about it?

If you can let it go, you would be good to do so.

If you can't, you might consider that now before you move to marry her, so that if you do marry her, you know if you can give her your whole heart and move forward and not keep bringing it up, or if you just can't and better to end things now.

There is no right or wrong, no black or white. There simply is your choice.

I know situations are all very different, and I don't intend to dismiss your thoughts or struggles with it. Just simply want to point out it doesn't have to be that way about it being so sacred that there are no options ever, it is what you choose to do with it. YOU are placing that definition on it and that meaning on the sacred nature, and it stays with you until you wrestle with that and let it go or put it in perspective with everything else to rationally process it.

I am divorced and remarried. My wife was divorced and remarried to me. If your logic holds true as a universal eternal truth about the nature of sacred things, we are condemned to never have our sacred marriage together. You might say "that is different" ...but it is not any more different than your situation from cnsl1 or any other. All are different. But what is the same? The idea that we create what is sacred in our hearts...and individual circumstances vary and we adapt to them. There are no absolutes.

Do you stay committed to ideas from past actions, or do you choose to move ahead and truly love going forward? That can determine what is sacred to you or not.
“But the human spirit is resilient. God made us so. He gave us the ability to forgive. To leave our past behind. To look forward instead of back.”
“Ultimately, to get better, I simply made a choice.”
― Elizabeth Smart, My Story
Situations are different, but principles are the same. Is Elizabeth Smart forever damaged as a person and never to have anything sacred in her life? There are too many examples out there to refute such thinking. We are all different. We are all damaged. We are all sinners. We are all sacred sons and daughters of God.

Your thoughts on the meaning of the past does not need to be more powerful than actions moving forward to love and let go. Faith and love and the Atonement overcome anything in the past.

It sounds to me from your posts, groundhog, you know these things and have read it and heard it all before. So how do you let it go? How do you keep it from bothering you? How do you stop thinking and worrying?

I think you simply start today doing it. You can't always think about how you will start to not let it bother you, you can't always think it through. You sometimes just have faith and do it, and then the thoughts fall into perspective.

Realize the thoughts that come to you can be entertained or dismissed. They may keep coming back, but you can ignore them if you want. In time, the more often we dismiss the things that hold us back...the more we are focusing on the now and the future to make things as we want them to be. Many times, once we get our mind on the good things looking head, the past becomes less worrisome to us, and like other things that are no big deal to you, this becomes another one of those.

The Maori Proverb states:
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
That is sacred. Love is sacred. Sex is just an earthly bodily thing...but love is what is sacred and eternal. Love can overcome the past thoughts that hold us back. So start today, and just keep moving forward with love in your heart.

Choose your love, and love your choice.


Thank you everyone, and thank you Heber13.

I think I have found my way forward. For the longest time, I said that I just needed to get over it, that my gf did not do anything wrong to me, and that it all rested on me. And it did, but it glossed over and ignored a very fundamental fact that I didn't admit because my gf did nothing wrong. I glossed over that I still held her past against her. I was still choosing to be offended, choosing to let it be a stumbling block. How dare she take something that I wasn't even able to choose for myself? Even while telling her that I didn't hold it against her. It was a lie, because to think otherwise really made me feel crappy, like a villain. I could never be that person, the person who got caught up on one tiny little thing that wasn't a big deal. but here I was, being that exact person, so because it didn't logically make sense to me, I just glossed over it.

But I did hold it in my heart against her. So the answer I found, the way forward for me, was finally, to forgive. It seemed so silly. WHat was there to forgive? Even though she doesn't need it, it was for me. I needed to let it go, but not in a way where I just "forgot about it" or "ignored it." I had to acknowledge it, and then say, I forgive you (again, even though she didn't need it). And then forget anything that was destructive to my own thoughts. It wasn't easy. But knowing that I had the power of the Atonement at least let me have the strength to get on that road.

I can say that I feel lighter. It certainly doesn't rack my brain anymore. It's a work in progress but I just continually forget the destructive, dismiss the negative.

This was my answer. I don't know how helpful it is for anyone else. But I just wanted to let everyone know.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by DarkJedi » 26 May 2020, 09:36

I'm glad you have found your path. May you continue to find the peace you seek.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Roy » 26 May 2020, 11:02

Groundhog wrote:
24 May 2020, 17:01
But I did hold it in my heart against her. So the answer I found, the way forward for me, was finally, to forgive. It seemed so silly. WHat was there to forgive? Even though she doesn't need it, it was for me. I needed to let it go, but not in a way where I just "forgot about it" or "ignored it." I had to acknowledge it, and then say, I forgive you (again, even though she didn't need it). And then forget anything that was destructive to my own thoughts. It wasn't easy. But knowing that I had the power of the Atonement at least let me have the strength to get on that road.
I sometimes feel that we link forgiveness and wrongdoing too closely. After the stillbirth of my daughter I felt like I had let my family down and I yearned for forgiveness. Yet, I hadn't done anything wrong and never did have the power to protect my family from every negative outcome. I needed to forgive myself and that was complicated in part by the idea that forgiveness/repentance was for wrongdoing. I was excited by the concept of forgiveness and salvation in mainstream protestant churches because the individual can be forgiven essentially for their fallen state (a fallen state that was not their fault to begin with and that they will continue in even after being forgiven). I think of it like Jesus saying unto his father, "Forgive them, for they are merely human."

IOW, if calling it forgiveness helps in your process of letting it go then more power too you. The word forgiveness can be powerful and has many facets. I am happy that you are having a measure of success getting past this obstacle and are feeling more free.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Heber13
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Heber13 » 30 May 2020, 13:32

Great post, groundhog. Thanks so much for sharing.

I liked this...
I had to acknowledge it,
thanks
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

mfree6464
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by mfree6464 » 12 Jun 2020, 12:12

I was listening to a podcast by John Dehlin recently and, as many of you may know, he did his Masters research and thesis on OCD. I found that much of what he shared applied to me and the suffering I experienced when I first started this thread with regard to handling my wife's sexual past. I am by no means a professional so please don't take my words as gospel (pun intended.) The words I am about to share are my opinions based on the understanding I received after listening to someone I consider to be a professional in the realm of OCD. If you are suffering from OCD in any of its many forms you should seek professional help.

That said, I am hopeful that perhaps some of the information I am about to share will help others understand what is happening to them when they find themselves suffering over the sexual past of their significant other. I am also hopeful that those who haven't suffered in this way will be able to better understand what I was going through when I first started this thread and why I felt the way I did.

Here is my understanding after listening to this professional:

For those who are unaware, OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder and obviously has two components: an obsessive part and a compulsive part. The compulsive part is the action one takes to try to remediate whatever it is one is obsessing over. Example: If you obsess about cleanliness then you might compulsively wash your hands. If you obsess about safety then you might obsessively check to make sure your door is locked before you leave. If you obsess about being righteous you might obsessively confess to your bishop over things that don't merit confession (scrupulosity.)

Rumination (deeply thinking about something) happens to be one of the many compulsive behaviors that may be manifested by those who suffer from OCD. When I first visited with a counselor over this issue the first thing he said to me was, "You are really ruminating over this." Again, I have not been professionally diagnosed but I believe that when I first posted back in early 2016 I was suffering, for the first time in my life, from OCD. The obsessive component was my wife's past. The compulsive component was rumination. I could not stop thinking about her past. Thinking about my wife being with someone else in an intimate way is, for me, very painful. Thus, I was in constant pain.

Another thing I learned was that OCD attacks the things that are most important to us. I am not a neat freak so OCD never reared it's ugly head for me in this way. I am not naturally paranoid (we regularly leave our doors unlocked for days at a time) so safety and lock checking never were a target for my OCD. I used to think I suffered from scrupulosity in my youth but after gaining more insight into what that actually looks like I no longer believe that. I think I was just a kid who was "scared straight" by the church and greatly feared going to hell so I white-knuckled my way with will power through my teens not getting into much trouble at all. But when my wife opened up to me about her past I found myself thrust into this world of suffering that I did not know existed. She is everything to me and the OCD was exploiting that. My suffering is all well-documented on this thread so I won't go into further detail than that. But it was real. It was extremely painful. And I could not find a way out.

When I first posted here I was seeking a safe place to talk. I had posted in one other location prior to this and was largely told that I needed to forgive and forget. I was told that I was disrespecting the Atonement. I was told I lacked faith. I was told that I was judgmental. I was told my wife deserved better than me. Just as it would not be helpful to tell an OCD sufferer that one hand-washing is enough and that 8 washings is crazy. Similarly, telling me that I was disrespecting Christ's Atonement only added to my suffering. StayLDS is a unique community. I love that one can discuss church issues here without vitriol. It seems like this is where the grown-ups hang out. And for the most part, my post has been met with maturity and understanding. So thank you for that. That said, I know how hard it is to truly understand each other sometimes so hopefully this information will help bring some clarity to those who were puzzled by my experience.

Groundhog
Posts: 8
Joined: 01 Apr 2020, 20:36

Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Groundhog » 14 Jun 2020, 22:25

mfree6464 wrote:
12 Jun 2020, 12:12
I was listening to a podcast by John Dehlin recently and, as many of you may know, he did his Masters research and thesis on OCD. I found that much of what he shared applied to me and the suffering I experienced when I first started this thread with regard to handling my wife's sexual past. I am by no means a professional so please don't take my words as gospel (pun intended.) The words I am about to share are my opinions based on the understanding I received after listening to someone I consider to be a professional in the realm of OCD. If you are suffering from OCD in any of its many forms you should seek professional help.

That said, I am hopeful that perhaps some of the information I am about to share will help others understand what is happening to them when they find themselves suffering over the sexual past of their significant other. I am also hopeful that those who haven't suffered in this way will be able to better understand what I was going through when I first started this thread and why I felt the way I did.

Here is my understanding after listening to this professional:

For those who are unaware, OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder and obviously has two components: an obsessive part and a compulsive part. The compulsive part is the action one takes to try to remediate whatever it is one is obsessing over. Example: If you obsess about cleanliness then you might compulsively wash your hands. If you obsess about safety then you might obsessively check to make sure your door is locked before you leave. If you obsess about being righteous you might obsessively confess to your bishop over things that don't merit confession (scrupulosity.)

Rumination (deeply thinking about something) happens to be one of the many compulsive behaviors that may be manifested by those who suffer from OCD. When I first visited with a counselor over this issue the first thing he said to me was, "You are really ruminating over this." Again, I have not been professionally diagnosed but I believe that when I first posted back in early 2016 I was suffering, for the first time in my life, from OCD. The obsessive component was my wife's past. The compulsive component was rumination. I could not stop thinking about her past. Thinking about my wife being with someone else in an intimate way is, for me, very painful. Thus, I was in constant pain.

Another thing I learned was that OCD attacks the things that are most important to us. I am not a neat freak so OCD never reared it's ugly head for me in this way. I am not naturally paranoid (we regularly leave our doors unlocked for days at a time) so safety and lock checking never were a target for my OCD. I used to think I suffered from scrupulosity in my youth but after gaining more insight into what that actually looks like I no longer believe that. I think I was just a kid who was "scared straight" by the church and greatly feared going to hell so I white-knuckled my way with will power through my teens not getting into much trouble at all. But when my wife opened up to me about her past I found myself thrust into this world of suffering that I did not know existed. She is everything to me and the OCD was exploiting that. My suffering is all well-documented on this thread so I won't go into further detail than that. But it was real. It was extremely painful. And I could not find a way out.

When I first posted here I was seeking a safe place to talk. I had posted in one other location prior to this and was largely told that I needed to forgive and forget. I was told that I was disrespecting the Atonement. I was told I lacked faith. I was told that I was judgmental. I was told my wife deserved better than me. Just as it would not be helpful to tell an OCD sufferer that one hand-washing is enough and that 8 washings is crazy. Similarly, telling me that I was disrespecting Christ's Atonement only added to my suffering. StayLDS is a unique community. I love that one can discuss church issues here without vitriol. It seems like this is where the grown-ups hang out. And for the most part, my post has been met with maturity and understanding. So thank you for that. That said, I know how hard it is to truly understand each other sometimes so hopefully this information will help bring some clarity to those who were puzzled by my experience.
I am so thankful for your post. It was one of the few places (in a topic already with few posts on the internet) that spoke directly to me. So many things you've said applied to what I was feeling. I too posted about this in one other place and I pretty much was told the same things you were. It made me feel worse because even looking from the outside in, I would have said the same things those people did. So why couldn't it get out of my mind? And your thoughts on OCD, while I don't believe i have it, sound a lot like what I went through. I became obsessed with chasing each thread of thought to their logical conclusion and there was just two conclusions I could not get over no matter how hard I tried to "logic" past them. I really felt like my own brain would end me, or the relationship. In fact, I began thinking a lot about ending the relationship for both our sakes. I think ironically that was where the actual healing began because even if I ended the relationship, I didn't want to end it on a sour note. I wanted to end things amicably and on good terms. That's where I was led to forgiveness.

But yes, I cannot overstate that I felt a kinship with you despite how vastly different our situations are. I suspect my own obsession with the topic was akin to something like a culture shock. I just... it just blew my mind. My expectations were completely lambasted and I felt this incredible sense of disappointment and lost. Even now I am not so sure why I was in that state of mind. And even now, weeks later, occasionally it will return. Not as intense or as deep as it used to be though if I dwell on it I can feel the old hooks returning. But it comes in and out. Definitely not every day like it used to be (or rather ever hour).

Anyway, I wonder if in two more years someone else will discover this again.

Groundhog
Posts: 8
Joined: 01 Apr 2020, 20:36

Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Groundhog » 14 Jun 2020, 22:28

Roy wrote:
26 May 2020, 11:02
Groundhog wrote:
24 May 2020, 17:01
But I did hold it in my heart against her. So the answer I found, the way forward for me, was finally, to forgive. It seemed so silly. WHat was there to forgive? Even though she doesn't need it, it was for me. I needed to let it go, but not in a way where I just "forgot about it" or "ignored it." I had to acknowledge it, and then say, I forgive you (again, even though she didn't need it). And then forget anything that was destructive to my own thoughts. It wasn't easy. But knowing that I had the power of the Atonement at least let me have the strength to get on that road.
I sometimes feel that we link forgiveness and wrongdoing too closely. After the stillbirth of my daughter I felt like I had let my family down and I yearned for forgiveness. Yet, I hadn't done anything wrong and never did have the power to protect my family from every negative outcome. I needed to forgive myself and that was complicated in part by the idea that forgiveness/repentance was for wrongdoing. I was excited by the concept of forgiveness and salvation in mainstream protestant churches because the individual can be forgiven essentially for their fallen state (a fallen state that was not their fault to begin with and that they will continue in even after being forgiven). I think of it like Jesus saying unto his father, "Forgive them, for they are merely human."

IOW, if calling it forgiveness helps in your process of letting it go then more power too you. The word forgiveness can be powerful and has many facets. I am happy that you are having a measure of success getting past this obstacle and are feeling more free.
Yes that's a very interesting concept. That forgiveness may not necessarily be about wrongdoing. I've never thought about it that way before. I suspect that there are going to be even harder things down the line that life will throw at me that I will need to call upon that power again.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Coping With Previous Sexual History of a Spouse

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Jun 2020, 19:09

Thanks for the additional input, mfree6464.

Psychology is fascinating, and it can help us understand a lot of things more clearly than "the natural (hu)man" is prone to understand.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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